Insights about Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Art of Power (II)

In his gentle and simple words, Thich Nhat Hanh tells us how to be an effective leader in a community, whether it is within our family, among friends, in businesses or political organizations.

The key to success, as he argues,  is to have love and compassion for all the people and for the career you are pursuing. To have a good motivation means to base your achievements on a wholesome ground. If the motivation of a company is to provide their customers with the best services without incurring any unnecessary costs to the environment, the business would be long-lasting. As a leader, you earn others’ respect by setting a good goal and relating everyone to the community, with compassion.

The importance of inter being can never be underestimated. “There is some non-flower element in a flower,” says Thich Nhat Hanh. The flowers only nourishes because of the adequate and carefully chosen combination of sunshine, water, soil, and sometimes human care. Without water, a rose blossom would perish before it even opens. We should recognize the interdependence between people. Only in this way can we truly achieve compassion when dealing with conflicts.

The interdependence principle also applies to our personal lives. The business and the nonbusiness are closely related. If you are in harmony with your family, you perform better at work. If you are mindful drinking your tea, you are mindful doing your project. I tried to practice mindful walking this afternoon when I was walking down the stairs after lunch. “One, two, one, two…” I counted and focused myself entirely on my footsteps. I was enjoying walking, only walking. It is a great pleasure to take a short detour away from the academic tasks and to leave some time to relax. Later, I found myself more attentive doing my maths homework!

If we look deeply into our state of being, we would discover that the past, the present, and the future are closely related. The past has an influence on the present. We’re always troubled by the mistakes or deficiencies of the past. But regretting does us no good. It is more rewarding to focus on the present and to remedy for the past. If you have hurt someone, try to say “sorry” to her and do something caring for her. Maybe you can still be good friends.

The future is always bothering us as well. We are worried that we might not get a good job, that we might not find the right one to spend our life with, or maybe simply that we might not be “successful”. But the future depends on our performance and our attitude at present, and present only. The other factors are beyond our control. If we invest all our efforts and do our job mindfully, success will follow. Blinding worrying about the future will only cause the seeds of fear and anxiety to grow. This is exactly what we should avoid.

Having understood the interdependence between people and things, we are able to approach a natural and peaceful state. We just concentrate on what should be done now, and we fully enjoy the present moment.


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